Taking Piano Lessons and Learning Classical Pieces

My STEP project involved taking piano lessons from professional piano teachers. My focus was to develop piano technique through my instructor in order to be better prepared to teach myself piano once my STEP project ended.

Unfortunately, life got in the way. The first summer of my STEP project I reconnected with my elementary school piano teacher and took lessons once a week. I was able to work through the three songs I had been wanting to play – Clair de Lune, Arabesque, and Consolation No. 3. Other works I did include Reverie, Moonlight Sonata 1st Movement, and Song of India, among more. Then I moved in to school, and the semester hit me right away. I was taking 19 credit hours, TAing for a 5 credit hour class, and running a new club. Those three things took up the entirety of my day. While I did have some time intermittent, I did not have enough to diligently practice and put my full effort into learning piano. The next semester I was taking the same workload, except I was at my house even less.

My STEP project made me prioritize and figure out what was most important to me. When I became busy, I made a conscious choice to put 100% of my effort in a smaller number of things instead of putting a small amount of effort in a large number of things. That is the transformation I went through – I became an all or nothing person. When I choose to do something, I do it with all of my heart. But when something doesn’t interest me, I don’t even make an effort for it.

As stated, the events that caused me to become an 100% or 0% type of person was me being extremely busy. For a span of three months, I would leave my house at 9:00 AM and not get back until midnight due to a variety of reasons. First, my 19 credit hour schedule caused me to have a lot of classes and homework. I would do my homework between classes to not overload myself at night. Second, I was/am a TA for the Fundamentals of Engineering for Honors program, which comprised of grading 32 lab reports a week first semester and being present in open lab at night second semester. Lastly, I founded a new club that year which took up my remaining time. I made a choice that I would put all my effort into my studies, my students, and my club.

I value this change in me because I do not know another way to live than to totally dedicate myself to what I believe. Giving anything less than 120% of my effort to the things I am passionate for seems like a waste of my time and energy. I learned through this project that I am not passionate about piano, which is OK. I like playing and enjoy the challenge, but there are other things that give me more gratification. So while I may not have done 100% of my STEP project, well, that’s just who I am. I gave it a try, and didn’t find passion for it, so I put my soul into other aspects of my life that I could do 100%. And that’s OK. I do regret taking somebody’s spot in STEP that would have done a project. Had I known my sophomore year that I would’ve not been passionate about piano, I would have chosen a different project. But I’m constantly learning in life, and without STEP I wouldn’t have learned my priorities.

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